val·​e·​dic·​to·​ri·​an | \ ˌva-lə-ˌdik-ˈtȯr-ē-ən How to pronounce valedictorian (audio) \

Definition of valedictorian

: the student usually having the highest rank in a graduating class who delivers the valedictory address at the commencement exercises

Examples of valedictorian in a Sentence

She was the valedictorian of her class in 1985.
Recent Examples on the Web The 18-year-old is the valedictorian of the Bell County High School Class of 2018, about 80 miles north of Knoxville, Tennessee. Cleve Wootson,, "Kentucky crowd cheered valedictorian for quoting Trump. Then he told them it was Obama.," 4 June 2018 Currently a student at Purdue University studying data science, Duncan was a valedictorian of Mater Dei High School in Evansville. Mj Slaby, Indianapolis Star, "Miss Vanderburgh County crowned 2020 Indiana State Fair queen," 5 Jan. 2020 Joliet/Chicago born and educated, Bob excelled at academics and sports and was valedictorian of Joliet Catholic High., "Deaths in South Florida: 11/2," 2 Nov. 2019 After years of therapy for PTSD from his years as a child soldier, Luce has grown into an almost implausibly perfect student and school poster boy: debate team captain, football player, track star, soon-to-be valedictorian. Nora Mcgreevy,, "More than a matter of black and white," 8 Aug. 2019 That spirit resonates with Marvin Spears, the valedictorian of the bachelor's program. Tyler Kendall, CBS News, "Incarcerated graduates say degrees help them "transcend" prison's walls," 20 Dec. 2019 The former high school valedictorian also recently collaborated on a neuroscience research project alongside the University of Minnesota in an attempt to train her brain to fall out of love with her ex-boyfriend. Nick Williams, Billboard, "Listen to Rapper-Singer Dessa's 'Lucid' #TBT Mixtape: 'What Hits You Younger, Hits You Hard'," 19 Dec. 2019 Spruill, the Friendship valedictorian and student government president, is a Gates Millennium Scholar, a prestigious program that awards scholarships to students of color who have financial need. Perry Stein, Washington Post, "‘I wasn’t just thinking about myself’: How D.C.’s Class of 2019 decided what’s next.," 23 June 2019 Donahoe graduated as valedictorian from Ohio Northern University with a bachelor of fine arts degree in musical theater. Carol Kovach, cleveland, "Fairview Park neighborhood continues holiday lighting tradition: A Place in the Sun," 17 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'valedictorian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of valedictorian

1759, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for valedictorian

valedictor(y) + -ian

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Time Traveler for valedictorian

Time Traveler

The first known use of valedictorian was in 1759

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Statistics for valedictorian

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Valedictorian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce valedictorian (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of valedictorian

US : the student who has the highest grades in a graduating class and who gives a speech at graduation ceremonies


val·​e·​dic·​to·​ri·​an | \ ˌva-lə-ˌdik-ˈtȯr-ē-ən How to pronounce valedictorian (audio) \

Kids Definition of valedictorian

: a student usually of the highest standing in a class who gives the farewell speech at the graduation ceremonies

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with valedictorian

Spanish Central: Translation of valedictorian

Nglish: Translation of valedictorian for Spanish Speakers

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